NORMAN — For three straight seasons prior to this one, the Oklahoma women took full advantage of just a little time off the game court.
The thing about those seasons? The Sooners didn’t get the time until the Big 12 tournament concluded and they had a week off before NCAA tournament play began.
In 2010, a 10-loss bunch of Sooners reached the Final Four. In 2011, an 11-loss Sooner team managed to upset its way into the Sweet 16. A year ago, though OU won just one NCAA tournament game, it still played two of its best games of the season in the Big Dance, beating Michigan before losing to St. John’s.
This time around?
Because OU met Baylor on a Monday, Feb. 25, the Sooners had four whole days before a senior night meeting with Kansas. They’ve been going great guns ever since.
Heading into today’s 8:30 p.m. Big 12 tournament matchup with West Virginia at American Airlines Center in Dallas, the Sooners actually appear to be ahead of their typical end-of-season momentum turnaround.
“You have a chance to step back and kind of look at other things and say, ‘This is what it is and it’s real, and this is where we are,’” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “And I think there were some really solid decisions made by our team about committing to the process and making sure we finish this thing the right way.”
The Sooners topped Kansas 85-77 after getting those four days to consider their plight. A high-quality game from both teams, it was a testament to the conference’s strength, even as No. 1 Baylor remains the Big 12’s only ranked team.
Two days later, OU arrived at Texas Tech’s United Spirit Arena as the Lady Raiders still had hope of earning the second seed at the conference tourney. Instead, OU dropped Tech 77-73, stole third place in the conference for itself and bumped the Lady Raiders into fourth.